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Celebrating Independence with No Poo

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fireworksA friend of mine shared an article with me about the difference between Independence and Freedom. It basically came down to Independence being the idea of not having outside oppression, or not being controlled by something outside of yourself. On the other hand, Freedom was an inside job. Feeling free within yourself to say, do, or feel any way without harsh self censoring. I like the idea of distinguishing between the two and figuring out if I felt restriction in either of these areas. It turns out, like in many other things, I have come a long way but I still have far to go.

One of the ways I am gaining independence is by slowly releasing myself from all of the consumerism around me. I no longer feel like bigger is better or that I need the newest item on the market. I have learned to buy many of the things I need on Craig’s List, at thrift stores, and through community swaps. I also, as many of you know, make cleaning supplies and other products out of common household ingredients. It feels really good to me to not be buying chemically laden products to clean my home or put on my body. One of my mantras is, “You vote with your dollars.” If we stop buying the products that are causing problems, they will stop making them. They will be forced to find other solutions. Why would anyone look for better solutions when they are making millions now?

I’m all about baby steps. I’ve been making my own toothpaste and deodorant for over a year. I use coconut oil as a moisturizer, I make my own bug spray and sunscreen. But I have been hesitant to stop shampooing with commercial shampoo. So, in honor of Independence Day, I took the next step. I joined the “no poo” movement. I’m committing to this for 30 days to see how it goes. If you aren’t familiar with no poo, instead of shampoo and conditioner, you use a baking soda and water solution to wash your scalp and then rinse your hair with an apple cider vinegar and water solution to condition it. This is done with increasingly less frequency until you get to a place where you are only doing this once or twice a week. Some people say there is a transition period of a few weeks where your hair looks terrible as your body adjusts and your scalp begins to produce the right amount of oil. One of the things that really appeals to me is that there is supposed to be considerably less frizziness, which if you have ever seen me, you would understand why I find this appealing. One of the things that concerns me is that I dye my hair (I haven’t gotten to that baby step yet), and there are mixed reviews on how this method works with colored hair. Regardless, I have 29 more days to go. I will let you know how it works for me. I’d love to hear any tips or tricks from those of you who are already doing this.

Adventures in DIY Products

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DIY Sunscreen and bug spray

DIY Sunscreen and bug spray

Because I am always searching for healthy, affordable options, I have been wanting to experiment with some natural homemade products. Until recently, I have only seen recipes that required odd ingredients that didn’t seem easy to get. Or even worse, excessive steps that needed unfamiliar equipment. This combination turned me off and left me to wander the aisles of health food stores reading labels and sometimes purchasing things that I felt were overpriced and just didn’t deliver the promised results. Don’t get me wrong, I have also found some great products that I am happy to pay top dollar for. This past week I stumbled across two DIY recipes that I happened to have all of the ingredients for and that seemed really easy to make. Yay! I made a natural sunscreen and a natural bug spray. I have found both to be easy to make, effective, and affordable. Not only that, but I feel good about putting them on myself and my family.

Let’s start with the bug spray. In a 1 ounce bottle, I added 20 drops of lemongrass essential oil, filled the bottle halfway with witch hazel and filled the rest with filtered water. When I need to use it, I shake and spray. For people who live in ares known for ticks, you may want to add tea tree essential oil (20 drops). This can be used on pets too!

Now for the sunscreen. I used a recipe that I saw on Facebook by Earth Remedy. If you would like to see the original article with all of the variations, click here. This is the recipe I used:

  • 1/2 cup of fresh aloe gel. I took it from my garden. I cut a leaf in half and scooped out the gel. I’m sure you can buy this gel at health food stores.
  • 5 tbsp of coconut oil. This is the thick, white form used for cooking.
  • 3 capsules of vitamin E oil (discarding the casing).
  • 20 drops of carrot seed essential oil.

I mixed the above ingredients and placed them in a jar. As many of you know, I am really fair so I am trying this slowly. It worked well when I was out in the sun for 45 minutes. It was during a run so my face was sweaty and I wiped it a few times. I did get a little more sun than I would have liked on my face, but it worked great on my arms and shoulders. A few days later, I went to the beach. I started with this DIY sunscreen but I ended up using commercial sunscreen after a while. This is due to the fact that I hadn’t tested it for long-term use and I was in and out of the water a lot. As someone who has had melanoma, I don’t feel like I can fool around with this stuff.

Once I had all of the ingredients in my home, I would say that it may have taken me 25 minutes total to make both of these items. This is something that the kids can get involved in too. If you don’t want to let them help with the mixing and blending, maybe they can decorate the labels. If you are interested in purchasing essential oils, I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. This is where I purchase most of mine from. They are high quality and this company is known for being environmentally aware. Just click on their name and it will take you to their website.

I would be really interested to hear how either of these work for you. I would also be interested to hear about anything you are making yourself that you find relatively easy to make and effective.

Balancing tip-Pick one chemically laden commercial product that you use on your body frequently and commit to switching it out. If you are pressed for time or just not interested in making your own products, there are plenty of excellent products on the market these days to choose from. Do a quick Google search and you are half way there!

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